Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Maybe I'm just cranky

What on earth is going on with mail clients in Windows?  I'm running Vista but the same problem exists with pre-Vista systems.  In Vista we have Outlook Exp Windows Mail.  Now, Vista has been in development for several decades now (it seems) so one would think Windows Mail would be finely tuned with several cool new features.  How about RSS reading?  How about much better reply quoting (see Thunderbird)?  How about the option to have most recently updated threads bubble to the top like with Outlook?  No, no, and no.  Ok, I get it.  It's just weak enough to only be  useful for mom and dad but any serious user should consider Outlook.

If that's the case then what's the deal with Live Mail Desktop?  Another email client?  No wait.  Another crappy email client.  This one is worse than Windows mail (if that's possible).  Let me count the ways..

  1. Advertising bar that apparently doesn't go away unless you subscribe to some kind of pro account.  It's actually not very big but even on a 1280 x 1024 screen I feel cramped.
  2. Pointing it at my corporate IMAP account shot memory usage up to 170 megs and the app became totally non-responsive.  It may have eventually come back; I didn't wait around to see.
  3. Selecting the option to group my emails by conversation does... nothing.
  4. Moving over the email list turns the email icon on each item into a checkbox.  What for?  Got me.
  5. You would think that a brand new email client that runs on Vista would detect that its running on Vista and use the spankin' new Contacts folder right?  Bzzt.  No, it uses  your contacts from Hotmail.  So, now I have how many places where I have contacts?  Hotmail, Windows contacts, and Outlook contacts.  Priceless...
  6. The fun isn't limited to contacts either.  There is a nice calendar button in Live Mail Desktop.  Clicking it, I was sure that Windows calendar would show.  Uh, nope.  It shot me over to Hotmail calendar which is not even in the top 10 of best web calendars.  Again, how hard would it be to have Sync center keep my Hotmail calendar and contacts synced with my Vista desktop and have Live Mail Desktop use the local contacts and calendar.  Would have made too much sense.

I simply could go on and on about how bad Live Mail Desktop is.  Here's a thought.  Instead of having two crappy mail clients (Outlook Express/Windows Mail and Live Mail Desktop), combine the teams and create one kick-butt mail client that works with the major web mail players, uses Vista features when run on Vista, and gives some serious competition to Thunderbird in the free email client market.  Then again, maybe I'm just cranky.


  1. I am in whole-hearted agreement with you. With some of the newer Outlook features I refuse to give it up for subpar clients (even if they are free). And just working with Outlook makes me want to shoot the poor sod who decided that Windows Contacts and Outlook 2007 should be coded in such a way as to be a royal pain in the butt to keep in sync. Personally, if this carries on too long, I'll see if some sort of programmatic solution could keep this up, but one would think that a client I *paid* for, which was targetted to release around the same time as Vista, which I just patched so it would run under Vista (Technical Refresh) would be able to understand the Contacts folder...

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